Friday, December 07, 2007
DECEMBER 7, 1941 - A DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY
My father and mother were moving the last of her possessions from Pittsburgh to Cleveland. They had just married in September of the previous year. They had stopped for gas when the news about the bombing of Pearl Harbor came across the radio. Since I was born in July of 1942, it's entirely possible that I was already a little bun in the oven!
Both my parents were conservative Republicans and neither liked FDR even a little bit - but they always said that his speech to Congress was the best they'd ever heard. And give the politicians of that time full credit - NONE OF THEM were the quisling, defeatist cowards that our current crop have proven to be! Americans were just that - AMERICANS. We weren't hyphenated Americans in those days. And certainly none of them were demented enough to suggest doing cartwheels in the U.S. Senate! I always knew Harry Reid was a questionable patriot but until this morning I didn't know that he was dopey as well!
Many things on the American landscape have changed, some of them even for the better, but I'm not sure our national CHARACTER is even close to being equal to the character of those who comprised "the greatest generation" - among those fabulous people were my cousin Eddie Chupick and my Uncle Jumbo. My father served as a troubleshooter in defense plants (he was an engineer and thus uniquely qualified to be on the lookout for sabotage and stupidity). He later said that stupidity was much more common, so in that respect I think probably we haven't changed a great deal.
Even all these years later, those who died at Pearl Harbor and in World War II which followed are and should be honored and mourned by all of us. In my family, we do have one cause for celebration. My mother's nephew Ernie met a beautiful and utterly charming British woman named Lucy while he was stationed in England. He married her and brought her home to us and she was a gift to us then and "at a certain age" she is still a gift to our entire family. And thanks to Ernie and Lucy - I have my 3 beloved cousins Debbie, Ernie and Scott and their wonderful families.